At Common Law a sealed promise or covenant was binding by its own force.27 It is often said that such instruments are "presumed" to have consideration, or "import" consideration. This mode of statement, though antedating Lord Coke's time,28 is absurd historically, since sealed instruments were binding centuries before the development of simple contracts and the law of consideration.29 Such expressions have led to confusion by inducing the supposition that a seal was but presumptive evidence of consideration and that other evidence might be admitted to show that no consideration in fact existed; 30 whereas a sealed promise to make a gift for no consideration whatever is binding.31 The changes facte of the case it is true presented a question of failure, not lack of, consid-deration, but the comparison with a bond indicates that the judges were not confining their observations to a case of failure as distinguished from lack of consideration. The reporter's note (page 156) makes this more evident. The reporter says in support of the argument that the defence was good: "If not, A. might recover against B., where there was no debt; and certainly the Statute did not design that a Man should recover, where there was no Debt, at all; for the Stat-ute only makes Promissory Notes, as Bills of Exchange; and though the Acceptor and Indorser were bound to pay those Bills, whether they had received any Consideration or not, because the Acceptor accepts it for the Honour of the Drawer, and the In-dorsor negotiates it; yet the Drawer of the Bill was not obliged to pay it to the Person, in whose Behalf the Bill was drawn, unless be had paid him a Consideration; but the owning a Value received, was Evidence prima facie, that a Consideration was paid to the Drawer of the Bill."
27 See infra, Sec. 217.
28 In Sharington v. Strotton, 1 Plow.
*298, *30°, Bromley, arguendo said: "Every deed imports in itself a consideration, vis: the will of him who made it, and therefore where the agreement is by deed it shall never be called a nudum pactum." and see infra, Sec. 217.
29 In an anonymous case, Believe, 111 (1385), it was said: "In debt on contract the plaintiff shall show in his count for what cause the defendant became the debtor. Otherwise in debt on obligation, for the obligation is contract in itself." Also reported in Bel-ewe, 32; Fits. Ab. Annuitie, pl. 54.
30 This is best shown in the statutes referred to, infra, Sec. 218.
31 In Krell v. Codman, 151 Mass. 451, 28 N. E. 578, 14 L. R. A, 860, 26 Am. St. Rep. 260, a voluntary covenant to pay the plaintiffs twenty-five hundred pounds, six months from the covenantor's death, was enforced. Such a covenant creates an immediate indebtedness which could be proved in bankruptcy against the covenantor if he had become bankrupt before his death. Ex parte Tindal, 8 Bing. 402. Other cases where sealed covenants have been held binding without consideration are-Sivell v. Hogan, 119 Ga. 167, 46 S. E. 67; Adams v. Peabody Coal Co., 230 111. 469, 82 N. E. 645; Flatthat have been made by statute in the nature and effect of sealed instruments are elsewhere considered.32 Courts of equity though they recognize the validity of a contract under seal without consideration, generally deny relief to a mere volunteer; 33 but make some exceptions to their denial.34